Like most business owners, Chris Meyer found the lending process tedious and drawn out. In ten years of running various businesses, he applied for fourteen loans. Each required over two months to assemble the loan package: three years of business and personal tax returns, a personal financial statement, and an application for each bank. One day, he reflected upon how many people he didn’t know had access to his most private information. In today’s tech world, he knew there had to be a faster, more secure way to get loans.
Meyer reached out to his good friend, Dean Sioukas, to ask if he knew of a lending website similar to Kayak. Sioukas, a self-taught tech aficionado, searched the web and was shocked to discover it did not exist. Together, the two friends saw a way to transform the lending process and co-founded Magilla Loans. Sioukas became the Chief Technical Officer and wrote the code for the first version of the website. After many transformations and an app to boot, Magilla Loans boasts a whopping $1.5B of loans funneled through its website since launching in September 2015.
RETN: What kind of borrower should use Magilla Loans?
CHRIS: Anyone who is seeking a business, residential, or commercial loan, from the most affluent to the first-time homebuyer. Also folks who want to remain anonymous, which is a key feature of Magilla. No one wants to reveal their private information until it is absolutely necessary. When you search hotel rates using Kayak, Expedia, or Priceline — they do not require your credit card number, social security number, or even your name — they just show you a list of hotels. Our goal is to offer the same service for loans.
RETN: Why do you think Magilla Loans is so successful?
CHRIS: We believe Magilla has been successful because it is a win-win marketplace for both borrowers and lenders. Magilla has cut the time it takes a borrower to obtain multiple loan offers from approximately five months to less than 48 hours. The time savings is monumental. Plus the borrower is empowered because they control the entire process. This critical difference, changes the lending paradigm.
RETN: What tech features of Magilla Loans are you most excited about?
CHRIS: We are most excited about MagChat and our patented MagChart. MagChat is the brainchild of my co-founder, Dean. It enables the borrower to interact with multiple lenders anonymously in “real-time.” This way, a lender can find out more information about a loan or a borrower. Our MagChart is essentially a unified term sheet. In the old way of obtaining loans, I had to create an Excel spreadsheet to compare-and-contrast each of the bank’s terms. This was the genesis for our MagChart; to make it quick and easy for a borrower to choose which bank has the best offer.
RETN: Why Magilla? What's the inspiration behind the name?
CHRIS: Dean and I did not want a name that was “fund this” or “lend that.” We wanted something memorable, that was unique. We knew of the Yiddish term “megillah,” meaning the whole thing. So, we went with it and when person after person kept commenting on how much they loved the name, it stuck.
RETN: What do you see as the future of lending marketplaces?
CHRIS: I believe most brick-and-mortar banks will be obsolete in the next ten years. The convenience and immediacy of online banking has become the norm, especially with the worldwide acceptance and adoption of technology. I also sense that lawmakers will crackdown on the usurious rates the alternative lending sites are charging and make a change to prevent predatory lending.